ATI to demo gigatexel renderer, animation accelerator

Charisma Engine and Pixel Tapestry to accelerate 3D rendering 'tenfold'

ATI will reveal today how it plans to out-3dfx 3dfx with two technologies that, it claims, will provide a tenfold increase in 3D rendering power and far more realistic graphics into the bargain. The technologies in question are what ATI is already calling the Charisma Engine - which sounds so similar to the PlayStation 2's Emotion Engine, ATI has to be attempting to cash in on the fame of the Sony product - and the Pixel Tapestry Architecture (PTA). The Charisma Engine is a fast geometry processing unit, but steps ahead of rival components with built-in character skinning and key-frame animation acceleration facilities. The plan is to provide software developers with the scope to increase the number of changes that can be made to a character model each second, allowing a far greater and more fluid range of body movement and facial expressions than can be achieved today. PTA, meanwhile, is a billion texels per second rendering engine which also provides what ATI calls "deep multi-texturing" and a whole stack of photorealistic 3D effects that will no doubt allow ATI oppos to wow the crowd at the Game Developers Conference on Friday, when details of the PTA and Charisma Engine are to be unveiled. Assuming, of course, Bill Gates' announcement of the Nvidia-based X-Box doesn't take the shine off ATI's presentation too much... ®

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